In the video above, about two dozen elephants move quickly and silently through the forests in MalaMala Game Reserve in South Africa on their way into Kruger National Park in January 2013 (Video by Mike L).
On a misty morning in January 2013, our group climbed into a Land Rover for a game drive through MalaMala Game Reserve in South Africa. January is one of the rainiest months in this area of South Africa. That morning, we were lucky that it was only sporadically sprinkling. Birds were calling, but it was otherwise very quiet except for the rumble of the Land Rover’s engine. We never knew what we’d see. There was a surprise around every bend in the road. That morning we’d already seen a pride of lions lounging by a creek bed after a night of feasting (We’d seen some of the feasting, too).
We rumbled along, feeling raindrops, scanning through the trees and in the clearings. Then we saw an elephant. Soon more appeared. About two dozen elephants of all sizes were moving very quickly in a line in the morning’s mist. The herd made no sound. A few elephants grabbed small leafy limbs to eat as they passed through the forest. It was an awe-inspiring sight. We watched them for about ten minutes until they disappeared into Kruger National Park.
Moses, our guide, explained that the elephants could walk so silently because their circular feet are spongy with cushion pads, which also distribute the elephant’s weight.
When I was a child racing around with other children, I used to hear adults say, “You sound like a herd of elephants.” Of course, the adults meant that we were thunderingly loud, because that’s what they expected such huge animals would sound like.
Moses also explained how the size of the tusks vary a lot. However, no elephant, whether she or he has short or long tusks, is safe from the poachers, who even trespass into protected areas.
I knew elephants were endangered, but I had no idea how much slaughter was happening until I got home and start seeing so many stories about massive poaching, partly due to a loophole permitting artisans, mostly in Asia, to carve ivory for trinkets. Many are religious objects. These so-called religious objects are definitely unholy. DO NOT BUY IVORY, EVEN IF YOU ARE TOLD THAT IT’S LEGAL. THOSE WHO BUY IVORY ARE CONTRIBUTING TO THE DEATH AND POSSIBLE EXTINCTION OF ELEPHANTS.